Skip to main content

Online Privacy: Citi Virtual Cards.

I really like Citi's Virtual card concept. With this service, you never have to give out your real credit card number online. Citi provides you with a tool that can generate a virtual credit card number. You use it for any merchant online. The card number is totally random. Cannot be traced back to original card number.

The Tool is of two types. You can download and install it (a flash based *application* - NOT an air app - WHY?) or your can launch in a browser. The install variant is only available for windows (has a specific installer works only on PC). For macs and *nix, You have use the launcher.

NOTE: Donot use Virtual Account Numbers for purchases that require you to show your credit card at time of pick-up (e.g., movie tickets, etc.). I fell in that trap twice. You can talk to the manager, but hey, why the hassle?

Now, Why am I, a developer, taking special interest in promoting this? Apart from the general push for privacy, I want to show how poorly designed is the access to this virtual card system. For some reason, to access the laucher, you have to access your login - first. And the link to launch is another couple of clicks and steps. The lunched app (same flash app as the installable variant), again asks you to login.

  • First of all, the citicards.com home page has a *critical* bug on linux. The page loads with a transparent help overlay flash (has no reason to be there) - preventing you to enter the username password. The only work around is to use firebug to delete that element or write a grease monkey script
  • Having to log into my account: This is crazy. All this only to open the popup.You are shopping online. Just about to check out a hot deal. Boom. You are slowed down to a snail.
  • The page could have been a simple link/button on the dashboard, but they just take you round and round on a roller coaster ride
  • The development could easily transform the flash install type. to an air app. Had it been so, you can even get it in *nix, mac

But the simplest solution of all is to get that link and open it yourself. To demonstrate this, I quickly copied the popup js code from the account page. See how easy it is to launch. click in the image below.

Popular posts from this blog

Being a Vegetarian

I am a Proud Vegetarian. I don't eat Meat or Eggs. People say its hard here in US to be one. I beg to differ. The mere fact that I am hail and healthy these 4 years is a definitive proof. Apart from being bullied and trash talked by The Meat-Eaters, There is really nothing that makes this choice of mine any more than a debatable issue at a lunch or dinner. Other things aside, I am writing this blog having watched a PETA Video. Before you click on the play button, I ask you - If you are a vegetarian : Dont watch it. If you are not : Dare to watch it till the end. If you think going veg is just a fashion, think again . Even if you just want to do it for Fashion . Do it. Go Vegetarian. And Feel better asking the waiter for a Vegetarian Entrée in your next lunch.

Using Equinox CommandProvider to make OSGi console interactive.

After fiddling with the First Bundles that "Hello World"-ed upon Activation, You want to see more interactivity in OSGi. Although Using OSGi for an interactive Command Line Application would be like this one would be, well, a callable over-kill, I am going to start with an example and Expand it in later posts. So, please Welcome CommandProvider. CommandProvider is an EQUINOX specific API for extending the Console. This basic Example illustrates how to get a command from console and do something in java and also gets your feet wet on Service Registry package com.so.examples.commandconsole; import org. eclipse .osgi.framework.console .CommandInterpreter; import org.eclipse.osgi.framework.console.CommandProvider; public class DisplayMessageCommand implements CommandProvider { public void _say(CommandInterpreter ci) { ci.print("You said:" + ci.nextArgument()); } @Override public String getHelp() { return "\tsay - repeats what you say\n"; } }

How to Make a Local (Offline) Repository in Ubuntu / Debian

If you are in a place where you dont have internet (or have a bad one) You want to download .deb packages and install them offline. Each deb file is packaged as a seperate unit but may contain dependencies (recursively). apt-get automagically solves all the dependencies and installs all that are necessary. Manually install deb files one by one resolving each dependency would be tedious. A better approach is to make your own local repository. Before you actually make a repo, You need *all* deb files. You dont practically have to mirror all of the packages from the internet, but enough to resolve all dependencies. Also, You have to make sure, you are getting debs of the correct architecture of your system (i386 etc) # 1. make a dir accessible (atleast by root) sudo mkdir /var/my-local-repo # 2. copy all the deb files to this directory. # 3. make the directory as a sudo dpkg-scanpackages /var/my-local-repo /dev/null > \ /var/my-local-repo/Packages # 4. add the local repo to sour